Tanabe Chikuunsai IV was born to one of Japan’s most prestigious bamboo pedigrees. Like his father, Tanabe Chikuunsai III, he attended art school and earned a degree in sculpture. He is the chosen son to become Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, representing the fourth generation of bamboo artists in his family.
The artist was born Tanabe Takeo—he was given the name Chikuunsai, meaning “master of the bamboo clouds,” in 2017. Bamboo is sacred to him, which is one reason he wants to reuse the stalks in his installations. His signature is organic sculptural forms made with tiger bamboo and other natural materials.
“At the university, I noticed that making art produced a lot of waste, and that making art was almost like a selfish act,” he said. “I love bamboo so much, I want to take care of it and use it as long as I can.”
Watch how this art unfolds
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV and his apprentices Tomo Uesugi, Yona Ichikawa, and Jumpei Hayashi install his site-specific work, "Connection," at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco